Reef Recovery Initiative
Smithsonian marine biologist, Dr. Mary Hagedorn, is leading a global network of scientists in one of the most unique ocean-conservation programs in the world today, called the Reef Recovery Initiative which focuses on cryopreservation of marine species. Although conservation practices, such as marine protected areas, may help reduce the loss of genetic diversity on reefs, they are not enough! The global effects of climate change will continue to erode reefs worldwide, causing a continued decline in population numbers and loss of biodiversity. Conservation techniques, such as genetic banks using frozen samples hold strong promise to help offset these threats. These stored cells remain frozen, but alive, in liquid nitrogen- safe for hundreds of years. There are very few cryopreserved species collections utilized specifically for conservation, much less one for oceanic species. Moreover, as the only group of scientists in the world both developing and applying this modern technology to help reefs, their work is crucial.